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By ‘eck! Particle physicist to star in soap opera

By Ken Heartly-Wright

1 April 2010

Brian Cox (courtesy: Gia Milinovich)

Brian Cox, the University of Manchester particle physicist and a researcher at CERN in Geneva, is set to appear in the longest-running British TV soap opera.

The 42 year old has recently presented the BBC series Wonders of the Solar System, in which he travels the globe explaining various phenomena in our solar system.

To promote the series, the former keyboard player in the band D:Ream has also appeared in a string of high-profile television and radio appearances.

Last week the rock-star physicist appeared on the late-night TV programme Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, which is normally reserved for A-list celebrities.

And only last month he was heard on the top-rated Chris Evans Breakfast show on BBC Radio 2. Indeed, most physicists can only d:ream of being on such prime-time shows as these.

Now, however, Cox will star in an upcoming episode of the prime-time soap opera Coronation Street.

The show, known affectionately as Corrie, is set in the fictional town of Weatherfield, a suburb of Manchester, and follows a number of dysfunctional families living on the street with the Rovers Return pub as its main social point.

Cox, who was born in Oldham, Greater Manchester, will be no stranger to the show or indeed the dialect, which can feature terms such as “eh, chuck?”, “nowt” and “by ‘eck!”

The Mancunian physicist is set to play the character Byron Knox, a particle physicist who works at Weatherfield Polytechnic.

Although details about the storyline for Cox’s character are scarce, has learned that Knox used to work at CERN but returns to Weatherfield after being sacked for accidentally dropping his meat and potato pie onto an electrical connection at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider – stopping the experiment from working.

Returning to Weatherfield after his CERN humiliation, Knox discovers that he is the long-lost son of Ken Barlow – famous as being one of the original characters in Corrie and one of the few to have attended university.

Keen to resurrect his career, Knox then begins teaching physics at Weatherfield Polytechnic. Some scenes will involve him lecturing some of the show’s stars on particle physics in the Rovers Return as well as encouraging the street’s rebel teenager, Rosie Webster, to pursue a career in physics.

It is not yet known whether Cox’s appearance will be a one-off or if he will make regular appearances on the show. understands that this will depend on his research commitments.

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  1. Steve Haynes

    The man is everywhere at the moment – fantastic. A fabulous promoter of science and the scientific world.

  2. Steve

    April Fool I think!

  3. Lewis

    Haha, oh I wish it were true!
    (Happy April Fools day!)

  4. Shannon

    April fools?

  5. Dave



  7. Nicky Poole

    Absolutely brill! Without physics where would we be?

  8. Paul Guinnessy

    Better April Fool than the one on NPR this morning (about a stapler that has a built in webcam to send documents to twitter)

  9. Karlie

    Hahahahah! I loved that people believed this. Dropping his meat and potato pie on an electrical connection? How clumsy. : )

  10. SabeanPagan aka Karen

    Byron Knox, rofl!

  11. Lois

    Hahaaaa! I so much wish this was true!

  12. Anonymous

    > Indeed, most physicists can only d:ream of being on
    > such prime-time shows as these.
    Sure … we are all frustrated wannabes hoping for a glimpse of celebrity status. Doing physics is too hard anyway so why bother? Presumably the deepest truths of Nature will be uncovered through being interviewed by Jonathan Ross.

  13. JohnDuffield

    Maybe the real April Fool joke, is that it ain’t no joke. Or should I say, never a truer word spoken in jest, and you make your own future in this world. Course, I’m not averse to lending a helping hand from time to time: Dear viewerservices…

  14. Magnum

    I love the docos on the BBC, and Brian gets to go to some really cool places and gets to do some really cool things. I want to kill him and take his place. But at least I wasn’t in D:Ream.

  15. Jamar

    Brain Cox is awesome, loved him in “What Time Is IT?”

  16. Philip Bradfield

    William Walton made it – so has Brian Cox:
    he has worked hard to utilise his undoubted gifts for the inspiration and benefit of so many!

    Well done! Keep it up, lad!

    Philip – son of an Oldham lass


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